Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LA Animal Services Wildlife Webinars – Coexisting with Coyotes

LA Animal Services is offering webinars on encountering wildlife in our neighborhoods.

LA Animal Services is offering webinars for city residents on the wildlife we may encounter in our neighborhoods and how to safely coexist with it. We listened in to the session last week and learned a lot.

According to LA Animal Services Wildlife Specialists Officers Lois Westphal and  Gaby Lera, the reason for the increased sightings of coyotes right now is that pups who were born in the spring, now juveniles, are out learning to hunt with their parents. So it’s not unusual to see several coyotes together. Coyotes stay will with their young until the juveniles are old enough to live on their own. The juveniles are usually pushed out around August, explained Westphal.

Coincidently, we’ve heard reports of coyote sightings in recent weeks, and one resulted in the death of a small dog. The owners of the dog were urging neighbors to hire a service to trap and relocate coyotes, so we asked about that practice.

“It is currently illegal to trap and relocate wildlife, explained Westphal.  “The problem with trapping and removing is that as soon as you remove a coyote from a neighborhood, another one or maybe more than one, will move into that space. When you cut down on the number of coyotes in an area, all of a sudden the females will increase their litter size. Where they might have had five babies last breeding season, the next season they’ll double and so they quickly fill that void.”

“Different cities have tried that over the years, but it has not been successful and it is against California state law to trap and remove,” said  Westphal.  However, officers from the Department of Fish and Wildlife will come in if there is a coyote who is aggressive coyote toward humans.

“We are tracking all these coyotes, so you can report them to on 311 or reach out directly to your local shelter or by calling (888) 452-7381, which is probably the best way to do it,” said Westphal.  “Just ask for an officer and they can create an activity report. We do step in if one is injured or sick, but they are very agile and very smart.”

“The bottom line comes down to you and your neighbors protecting your own animals,” said Westphal. “That means not letting them out in the yard unattended, especially at dawn or dusk when coyotes are more likely to be out there feeding —  but they will be feeding at any time of the day. It can one or more coyotes, so you always have to be aware.”

The primary diet for coyotes is rodents, mice and rats, which is a good thing, explained Westphal. because it helps keep those populations in check. However, it’s important to remember that coyotes are very opportunistic and they are very smart.

“So if they catch a cat or a small dog one night, they’ll be more inclined to see it as a food source,” she said.

LA Animal Services also shared two videos offering information on animal behavior and lots of things we can do to make our yards less friendly to coyotes and safer for our pets. In one video, shown below, Dana Stangel, an urban wildlife specialist and Executive Director at Teranga Ranch, which provides local wildlife education, offers advice on safe and humane ways to deter coyotes and teach them to avoid humans and our pets. In the video, Stangel says coyotes are actually more successful in the urban landscape than in the wild. They have been around humans for many years, they are very interested in our animals and trash, and they aren’t going away. 

Stangel offered tips on how to peacefully coexist with these animals, starting with tips on how to make your backyard coyote-proof by adding rollers to your fence to keep them from jumping over….or using motion sensor sprinklers or lights or noise makes that will scare them away.  She also recommended using noise makers, bike horns, bells, penny cans, small airhorns, and even umbrellas to startle the animals and teach them that humans and their pets are scary. If you are worried about coyotes, you need to watch this 10 minute video.

There are eight more LA Animal Services webinars scheduled, running from Tuesday, July 14 through November 17, at 6:00 pm.  All of them feature staff from LA Animal Services who will answer questions. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the schedule on the LA Animal Services website.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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